IHC directs PM to call NDMC meeting by next week on Murree tragedy

Islamabad

Islamabad: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Thursday directed the Prime Minister Imran Khan to call a meeting of the National Disaster Management Commission (NDMC) by next week and determine who was actually at fault in Murree tragedy.

The IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah directed this while hearing a petition filed by a resident of Murree Hammad Abbasi, seeking action against those responsible for the Murree tragedy.

The court also directed the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) Member, present in the court, to submit a comprehensive report on the Murree catastrophe by next Friday and determine the people responsible for the mishap.

During the hearing, the Chief Justice held the NDMA responsible for the Murree tragedy. As many as 23 people, including children, reportedly died in Murree last week as heavy snow lashed the hill station, turning family vacations into a catastrophe. The petitioner Hammad Abbasi stated that he proceeded to Murree on January 7 and found the tourists going to Murree freely, without any stopping or warning of the danger ahead.

To a court query, the NDMA Member stated that the last meeting of the NDMC was held on March 28, 2018. He said the second last meeting of the NDMC had taken place on February 21, 2013. The Chief Justice astonished to note that the commission was a powerful body, so how come no of its meeting took place since 2018.

He said the Prime Minister, leaders of the Opposition in the Senate and National Assembly, ministers for foreign affairs, defence, health, interior, finance, communication, welfare and special education, communication, governor Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, chief ministers of all the provinces, AJK prime minister, chief minister Gilgit Baltistan, chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (JCSC), and chairman NDMA are part of the commission.

To a query by the Chief Justice, the NDMA Member stated that the Opposition leader had not written any letter seeking to call the NDMC meeting. The court noted that it was the responsibility of the NDMA to call a meeting of the commission for providing a national management plan to the Murree area. He said NDMA was responsible for the Murree disaster and it could not shift the blame on anyone else. Later, the court adjourned the hearing for next week.

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